Developing self compassion is a long and tender process, especially if you, like me, have a loud inner critic.
But practicing self compassion regularly can start to slowly shift the way you talk to yourself – shifting that internal voice from self criticism to self kindness.
Sea Soul Blessings can be a simple but powerful tool for developing a daily self compassion practice.
When you use your cards daily, you begin to gently shift the way your brain reacts to situations.
You can encourage yourself to take a break from your typical response to a stressful situation – shifting the way that you respond, for example, to that voice that tells you that you’re not doing enough, that you’re not good enough, that you must keep ‘doing’ in order to be valuable – your inner critic. In its place, you can develop a positive self compassion habit.
“I use them to break any unhelpful thought pattern that I’ve been sucked into – that constant “do do do”. They are my chance to press pause. (And because it’s still a form of ‘doing’ in a way, it doesn’t feel self indulgent…!). Establishing a routine is really helpful. If you know that you always draw yourself a blessing at a particular time of day, even if you don’t feel like you deserve it – then you will still give yourself that time. You build a self-compassion habit.” Pip L
Next time you become aware of that mean internal voice defaulting to self criticism… stop and pull a card, and turn towards self compassion instead. And then start to make that a practice that you do at a particular time every day (or more often than once!). I’ll explain the simple steps you can take to do this below.
As you practice pausing regularly to absorb positive encouragement in place of criticism, you will slowly start to find it easier to be kind to yourself.
Having practiced speaking to myself with self-compassion in the sea, and taking a kinder approach to myself, my flaws and ‘failures, using the Sea Soul Blessing cards daily, I now have a compassionate voice that sits alongside the critical voice in my head, (you can read more about that journey here).
And I can choose to listen to the kind voice whenever I need to.
Greater self-compassion has made my internal chatter easier to manage, and changed how I react to those around me, especially my partner and children: allowing me to soften and step into greater kindness towards them too.
Developing your own self compassion practise, using Sea Soul Blessings
Sea Soul Blessings allow you to gently become aware of your own compassionate internal voice – by speaking to you with self compassion.
When you have chosen your card, try reading it aloud to yourself.
If that feels hard, you could try using the same tone you would use to speak to a loved one – a child, a friend, someone whose happiness you care deeply about.
You may prefer to simply speak the circle of blessings, (for example, “May you find equilibrium in motion. May you honour cycles. May you offer the same support to yourself that you offer others. May your heart always be equal to the questions it is asked.”
Or to focus on just one of these (for example, “May you offer the same support to yourself that you offer others.”)
With each in-breath, gently encourage yourself to receive these words of kindness.
With each out-breath, slowly release any resistance, softening into the emotions.
As you listen to the words and breathe for a minute or more, you could also soothe yourself with a gentle touch.
For example, placing your hand on your heart, holding or gently squeezing your own hand as if it was the hand of a friend, stroking your arm, or giving yourself a gentle hug – whatever feels kindest to you.
Often, a self-compassion practice will feel uncomfortable initially – but over time, the discomfort will ease as you accept this kindness towards yourself.
Going deeper into self compassion
To deepen your practice, you could choose to use this phrase or blessing as a mantra for a compassionate meditation – write it down somewhere that you will see throughout the day.
Or encourage yourself to take a small compassionate step each day, caring for yourself in a way that is inspired by the day’s blessing.
For more information about self-compassion, I recommend an exploration of Kristin Neff’s work.
This has had a profound impact on me and many others. Visit her website at www.selfcompassion.org
Encourage your friends to be kinder to themselves
You can also use your Sea Soul Blessing cards to encourage your friends to feel greater self compassion for themselves, as well as look at a challenge in a new way.
“If we’re talking about something difficult and it feels too overwhelming, I might suggest that we stop and pull a card together. That offers another way for someone to feel supported and understood – a way in to a different conversation – one that allows people to open up and see a new way out of their problem. Using the card to guide our discussion also removes us slightly from the emotion of the conversation, allowing us to start afresh.” Pip L
Every day, the sea offers space for you to claim what you most need, and to understand your connection to the world around you. In each moment, it recreates itself. The horizon is wide, rich with possibility and fresh perspective. Use your Sea Soul Blessings cards to clear your mind and offer the same fresh horizon to yourself – and to those you love.
Visit our shop to purchase Sea Soul Blessings for yourself and your loved ones.